The Lower Peace River and Charlotte Harbor Estuary

Voted Florida's most scenic river eight years in a row, the Peace River is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Here you'll find an unmatched diversity of vegetation and wildlife as you paddle this scenic river that is old Florida.

lower Peace RiverThe lower Peace River is part of the Charlotte Harbor Estuary Ecosystem. An estuary is a partially enclosed body of water where freshwater from the land and rivers mix with saltwater from the sea. Healthy estuaries are vital to humans, marine and wildlife. Many species depend on these sheltered waters to survive.

The land from which freshwater drains into the estuary is called a "watershed" and serves as a giant sieve filtering out harmful sediment and pollutants. This watershed can consist of many different types of habitat (wetlands, woodlands and pastures) as the freshwater makes it way to the estuary via creeks and rivers.

The brackish waters of the lower Peace River are home to an extremely diverse community of marine and wetland wildlife.

Herons, egrets, ibis and many other wading birds are frequently seen feeding along the shoreline while raptors such as the bald eagle, red-shouldered hawk, harrier and osprey soar over head.

Manatees are not uncommon and visit our area regularly during the winter and spring. River otter sightings are rare but they, too, are native to this area of the river and are seen from time to time. At low tide raccoons and many other mammals feed along the river's edge.

Reptiles such as turtles are common and ,of course, at lower tides, an alligator or two can be seen sunbathing along the creeks and river banks.

During the winter, there is an incredible amount of life in and on the river and with the rugged old Florida wilderness that surrounds the river you are sure to have a memorable adventure filled with exciting discovery.

The Charlotte Harbor estuary is the second largest estuary in Florida and seventeenth in the nation. It was designated an "estuary of national significance" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1995.

ariel view of Charlotte Harbor

As the only deep water harbor between Tampa and Key West, greater Charlotte Harbor is blessed with a rich abundance and diversity of marine life.

There are 53 Canoe/Kayak Blueway Trails for a total of 192.9 miles throughout Charlotte Harbor making this a prime kayaking/canoeing destination.

Of course there is no guarantee you will see the aforementioned wildlife. It's here but unlike Seaworld, we just can't seem to get the animals to come out whenever we want them to!